The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry took questions from readers in today's OKC Thunder Power Lunch Chat. Join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a recap of today's Q&A:
Is the Thunder in as much trouble as its fans think?
The Thunder is on pace to win 55 games. After presumable wins against New Orleans and Golden State, OKC will be on pace to win 60 games. What do you think?
Will Perkins or Zach Randolph get fined or suspended for their actions on and off the court?
The league will look into it. If it's determined that there was a fight, fines could be levied.
Did you witness the "brawl in the hall" last night?
No. And I regret it. As soon as Perkins sprinted off the court, my gut told me to go back there. Something told me that something was about to go down.
I’m starting to see more and more a trend of Thunder players begging for a foul instead of just playing on. I think it’s starting to affect their game ... your thoughts on this?
You're absolutely right. Durant is doing it. Westbrook is doing it. Martin is doing it. Perk is doing it. It's gotten out of hand.
Haven’t seen Kevin Durant’s mom in her seat. Any idea where she is? Hopefully not at all the Houston games.
I heard there is some kind of rift. I don't know much more than that.
Can you expand on the "rift" with KD's mom?
As I said, I don't know much more than that.
Memphis made everything difficult and took Martin out of the game. I didn't see many opportunities to get more than those four shots he got, and those were heavily contested. What can the Thunder do to get him better looks against the Griz?
Drive and kick.
The Thunder's big problems (turnovers and rebounding) are not Harden related. Do we still have to compare everything to the beard?
I hope not. Every time the Thunder has a bad performance, some people want to blame it on the loss of Harden. This team's issues run deeper than Harden. The majority of the problems are the same that the Thunder had when Harden was here.
When the trade was made for Martin, you knew the team would need to change up its approach with the second unit. Is it unfair to say Brooks has done a poor job of doing that so far?
I don't think it's unfair. Because it wasn't just last night. We've seen in the last few games how Martin is capable of scoring despite the team. That needs to change, especially in the fourth.
Brooks tried to spread blame around for Martin getting only 4 shots last night, doesn't the blame fall on him? The second unit was terrible last night and they barely even tried running Martin off of any screens.
No. It goes around. It starts with Brooks, but it should be spread equally.
How can anybody take seriously what Magic says when he says that Harden was "the Thunder's best defender"? Why are some making it seem as if the Thunder traded MJ away?
I don't know. I just don't know.
I've been down on Brooks for awhile, is that unfair?
Considering this team's improvement, collectively and individually, since he's taken over, yes.
The starting lineup is just awful. Every statistical measure bears this out. At some point Brooks HAS to recognize this right?
I think he's fully aware of those numbers. But I also have no doubt that he is fully aware that a prolonged stint with other lineups has the potential to look and be even worse.
This team won't win a championship this year as currently constructed. Do you think we will see any trade fireworks for the Thunder this year? They have a lot of great assets, expiring contracts and money to spare.
I'm with you. Something has got to happen.
Is it a safe assumption that PJ3 and Lamb would be improving more if they received about 20 minutes a game rather than spot duty? And if so, how many years do you think it would be until they are solid, regular contributors? The second unit looks like it could use a creator against tough defensive teams that key on locking down Martin.
Yes. That's a safe assumption. It's also safe to assume the Thunder would be worse with them in the lineup.
Am I crazy, or have the home crowds been terrible to begin the season? Fans need to step it up ... although Harden's absence and the sloppy play have done nothing to boost the crowd.
Nor have the weak opponents, save last night.
I know it’s early in the season, and I’m not being reactionary, but the starting lineup has not been able to score for two years.
It's getting better this year with Ibaka's emergence. And contrary to popular belief, Durant's playmaking is helping to alleviate some of the stagnation in the starting unit. There's a reason Thabo is shooting 60 percent from 3.
Last season, didn't Brooks generally sub Westbrook out with a few minutes left in the first, then bring him back early in the second quarter? Teams seem to be feasting on the Thunder’s bench in the second when either KD or Russ isn't out there with them.
I don't understand why Brooks is still going with so much of a bench unit. He could get away with that last year with Harden running things. Now, it's probably best to keep either KD or Russ on the floor at all times.
Does the Thunder make a move this year to clear ourselves of some salary before the trade deadline by moving Perk, or possibly trading Maynor and try to get something in return?
Everyone loves to say "something." What is that "something?"
Maybe Russell Westbrook’s early season struggles last year were not contract related. Do you think he may just be a slow starter and it takes a while into the season to get into his groove?
Perhaps. More than that, though, I think he's a volume shooter who struggles to make smart decisions, especially when it comes to shot selection.
Why are the statgeeks like Hollinger and Lowe so down on Perk? Do they not remember how teams used to thoroughly dominate the Thunder inside before Perk got here?
Perhaps they don't. But it's easy to not appreciate Perk's impact when you break down numbers.
Is Memphis the team to beat this year? They’ve beaten Miami and OKC.
... in early November.
Do you think that Brooks knew that Lamb was going to play like he did against the Pistons and that he did that to send a message to him? Kind of hint at what it takes to play in this league?
Doubt it. Brooks isn't the message-sending type of coach.
Please choose: a.) The Thunder's greatest chance a title this season comes from improving play with the current roster; b.) They need to add someone; c.) If the Heat stay healthy, it doesn't matter.
B.) They need to add someone.
Is the Thunder working on designing any plays to get Martin involved? Besides standing in the corner wide open not being passed to?
After last night, the team had better be.
Last season, Westbrook's early shooting troubles seemed to be due to mechanics, particularly his release point. Seems I recall KD mentioning they had talked about that. Do you see any technique problems this season, or just decision-making issues?
The new guys are going to have to get minutes this year. Which means the 66ers could be a hell of a team this year. Do you think Lamb, Perry and maybe Reggie go down to get some burn?
As we've seen in the past, it's possible if they continue to not be in the rotation.
Are the draft picks that the thunder got in the Harden trade lottery? And what year?
The Raptors' pick will be. Not Dallas', though.